Thursday, October 28, 2010

Searching For Signal: #177 - “Survivor: Nicaragua” - Episode 7

We start out at the Espada camp, right after they’ve stupidly sent Yve home instead of worthless Dan. Amazingly, some of them are loving on Danny, glad that he’s still here. Dan is even calling himself “Teflon Dan”, convinced he’s in it for the long run. Blech. (Chase in a sidebar: “It’s going to be a tough pill to swallow” if Dan costs us the next competition. Um, maybe you should have thought of that before you voted.)

Next we have Chase, NaOnka and Holly off to the side. Chase: Alina is next. The girls nod enthusiastically, and then conversation come to a complete halt as Chase and Nay realize that Holly still has her bathing suit on backwards and they’re too tired to bring it up.

Cut to the La Flor tribe, right after they’ve crudely sent home Kelly B because she was brazen enough to come on “Survivor” with a metal leg. Marty and Jill confront Sash about the vote. What just happened? Sash at first tries to act like he doesn’t know what they’re talking about, then finally weakly hints that the Idol had something to do with it. Then Sash runs off to look at his reflection in the water.

Marty in a sidebar: Jane is a miserable wretch and she has to go. Then Marty runs to look at his reflection in the water, sees Sash already doing that, gets extremely jealous, and tries to vote Jimmy Johnson out. Oh wait, I might be a little bit confused.

Roll opening credits.

Back to the La Flor tribe, where Marty confronts Jane. Marty: I never lied to you, I never misrepresented you, I never wrote your name down, and I never suggested your name.

Jane: That there was a whole lot of words so I really don’t know what you’re hollerin’ about. But I never had a clue.

Marty: I think you wrote my name down.

Jane just cackles and runs off to the Cornpone Festival on a nearby island.

Marty runs to Jill and shares the conversation he had with Jane. Of course, Marty makes it sound like Tokyo Jane whipped out a machete and tried to hack him to death and he barely escaped with his life, because Marty is all about understatement and subtlety.

Jill in a sidebar: Marty and I are scrambling to stay alive. Hmmm. I wouldn’t call it scrambling. I’d call it both of you sitting around and not networking. Fair?

Time for the Reward Challenge.

Jeff describes the prize as a “Nicaraguan Farm Experience”. (What the hell? Was this an early Jimmy Hendrix band?) Nope, the winning tribe apparently gets to ride horses and then gets to eat breakfast as well as drink milk that they have collected from cows. You can tell by the confused expressions that half the people thought milk came from plastic bottles, not cows.

Anyway, the tribes have to run down this little ramp, leap through the air, throw a ball at a net, then splash into a primitive swimming pool. Trouble is, one person from the other tribe is standing on a platform between you and the net, trying to swat away your efforts. Chase and Fabio are the defenders, and everybody else is hurling. And we’re off.

Some highlights: Marty manages to nail Chase right in the privates, probably because people aren’t paying enough attention to his own testosterone. Danny pathetically stops at the end of the ramp, weakly tosses the ball, and then falls in the water. He misses, but Jeff warns him: It will not count if you don’t jump. Oh, and Fabio pees in the pool, which totally mortifies everyone. (Like they never have, but still, Fabio dude, why did you have to talk about it?)

In the end, Espada wins Reward. Cheering on their part ensues.

In a sidebar, Purple Kelly admits to being confused about how you “milk your own milk”. Those poor cows don’t know what’s coming. Has anyone cleared this with PETA?

Over to the La Flor camp, where we see Jane fishing, alone. While she doesn’t catch anything, she rattles on about “the word quit is not in my vocabulary”, she’s trying to stay in good graces with the youngsters, and they can “lounge around all they want as long as they think I’m important”. We then see several shots of the youngsters lying about the camp, waiting for someone to walk up and hand them food. No one does.

Sash in a sidebar: The old people can feed me all they want, but in the end it’s about how loyal you are to me. (Gee, he’s not arrogant at all, is he? A real saint.)

Cut to the Espada tribe astride horses plodding along some trail. (Chase in a sidebar: “Riding horses reminds me of God.” Oh? Just what church do you go to? Saint McDonald’s?) The tribe eventually rides up to a farm and everybody falls off their horses. (NaOnka’s horse looks especially displeased, so no telling what Nay did to the poor thing on the way over.)

Time to milk the cows, who look especially thin and haggard. (You’d think the casting department would have done a better job. Then again, they aren’t so good at picking out humans, either.) Shots of people tugging and pulling while the cows politely tolerate them.

NaOnka, detailing her unenthusiastic attempt at milk squirting: “I don’t play with animals’ nipples trying to get milk out.” Oh my.

Back to the La Flor camp, where we are treated to a montage of everybody else doing nothing while Jane continues to fish. She eventually snags one, then decides to race into the woods and cook it up for herself. In a very extended monologue, she rambles on about how people don’t give her enough credit, and that she deserves to have this solitary meal. Of course, her vocal delivery is full of garbled, homespun phrases so I don’t really get everything she says. She may have actually been talking about giving birth to triplets for all I know.

More of the Espada tribe at the local farm, where they are dining on fresh cheese and fruits and fixins, while the locals stand around in that confused way the locals always do when the “Survivor” behemoth rolls into a remote town and tells folks to do something authentic and native. Holly starts babbling about how this spread reminds her of home, then she burst into emotional tears, followed by Alina joining the waterworks.

Surprisingly, even NaOnka seems to tear up, showing that she might have a heart that actually beats. (Then she ruins it in a sidebar, bitter about Holly and Alina trying to look like they were bonding: “I can play that game”. She was faking it.) NaOnka’s horse whinnies from the sidelines, indicating that Nay does indeed play, just not in a nice way. The horse then speaks with the ranch foreman about his mental health benefits and a possible medical leave.

Time for the Immunity Challenge.

Jeff explains what the tribes will do: Two people stand on a tower, and roll balls down a chute. 4 members of the tribe will pull on ropes to adjust the chute. The goal is to direct the balls so they will break 5 tiles that belong to the other tribe. Winning tribe gets immunity, losing tribe has to stand there and look sad.

Off we go, and it’s really not a contest. Almost immediately, the La Flor tribe starts arguing about how to do things. (If you were to guess that Marty was part of the problem, you’d get a gold star.) Espada easily wins.

Jill in a sidebar: Marty has the Idol, so it’s probably me. Dramatic music ensues, shots of creepy animals doing slithery things in the forest.

La Flor camp.

Marty hangs his Idol on a tree again, just so everybody can remember that he has it. Of course they remember. You haven’t stopped talking about it since you found it.

The youngsters and Jane gather for a confab. Sash spells it out: We vote 3 for Marty (hoping to flush the Idol), 2 for Jill. This will lead to a tie between Jill and whoever Marty and Jill finger. Then they all vote Jill.

Another sidebar with Jane, where she explains that she really, really, really can’t stand Marty and Jill. Wants them gone. Got it.

Back to Sash and Our Gang. Sash: What if I go to Marty, tell him this plan, then counter-offer by asking Marty to give me the Idol, and promise to vote for Jane. Then we actually vote Marty out. Hurray! Everyone’s eyes sparkle at this bit of treachery and deception. Then they all lay back down, because talking is such hard work. Except for Jane. She runs off into a nearby field to build a log cabin.

Brenda and Sash on the beach, positioning themselves so that the fading sunlight emphasizes their pleasing bone structure. Sash: If we play this plan, Jill won’t trust us. Brenda: So?

Fine. So Sash moseys up to Marty, and kicks the plan into gear, using phrases like “look you in the eye man-to-man” and “shake on it”. (Words that, if you’ve ever watched the show, should be total warning signs.) Marty: I’ll just go home next week. Sash: “If we lose Immunity next week, I’ll give the Idol back.” Marty and his hair seem to seriously contemplate this possibility.

Marty in a sidebar: “I feel completely powerless!” (To be fair, you basically always were. You just didn’t want to face the fact.)

Amazingly, Marty gives the Idol to Sash. (Say it with me, folks: Dumb-ass.)

Marty in a sidebar: This might give me another cycle in the game. (So would keeping the Idol and playing it to save yourself. Hello?)

Sash in a sidebar, full of that annoying arrogance: “I don’t even have to dig, people will just hand me Idols.” (Remind anyone of Russell from seasons past? Thought so.)

Time for Tribal.

Jeff to Fabio: Back-to-back losses. Does this tribe still have momentum?

Fabio has no idea what momentum might be.

Jeff to Jane: The last Tribal was crazy. What was the vibe afterwards?

Jane: We talked, and we know what we need to do. (Then she guts a fish and snacks on it, raw, for the rest of Tribal.)

Jeff to Jane: Do the outsiders in the tribe know who they are?

Jane, using her knife to pick at her teeth, because she‘s so classy: Yes.

Marty: Jane’s a flipper. (I can’t help it, I immediately think of dolphins and cheesy 60’s TV shows.)

Jane: When we became yellow, I became yellow. (That can be taken so many ways.)

Jeff to Marty: Any Idol talk?

Marty praises himself about not playing the Idol the last time and doesn’t really answer the question.

Sash: “The Idol is in my pocket.”

Jeff is astonished. What’s going on here? (Are we seriously supposed to believe that Jeff didn’t already know this? Is it THAT hard to get out of your deluxe trailer and talk to some of your production people?) How do the rest of you feel about Sash having the Idol?

Fabio, hopefully not peeing as he sits there: “WE have the Idol.”

Jeff: We? Do you really? Brenda?

Brenda, looking as if she’s not quite sure what her name might be: “We’re fine.”

Jeff to Sash: “Then give the Idol to Brenda.” (Really? Jeff is feeling pretty frisky.)

Sash: “If someday I don’t trust them… I mean, if they don’t trust me-”

Jeff jumps on this. Jeff to Fabio: Do you know what a Freudian slip is?

Fabio stuns everyone (or at least me) by actually understanding. Sometimes things you want to hide slip out.

Moment of silence while everyone has to reconsider what they might know about Fabio.

Jane breaks the spell: “Any time you give up the Idol, it bites you in the end.”

Time to vote.

2 votes for Jane, 2 votes for Marty, 3 for Jill.

Wow. Really thought Marty was done.

Just what are Sash and Brenda up to? Do they even know?

Roll end credits.

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